U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is trying to force Elon Musk to testify in its probe into his purchase of Twitter, now X. After some back and forth, the billionaire investor bought the social media platform for $44 billion in October 2022 and the SEC’s probe is focused on Twitter shares he had acquired ahead of the takeover.
SEC Seeks to Compel Elon Musk to Testify Over Twitter Stock Purchases
The U.S. securities regulator has asked a judge to force the owner of X, Elon Musk, to provide testimony over Twitter stock transactions carried out before the acquisition of the social media networking service. The move comes after he failed to do so last month, Bloomberg and Reuters reported, and opens another chapter in Musk’s feud with the SEC.
Launched in April 2022, the investigation aims to establish if the entrepreneur broke federal securities laws when he bought shares in Twitter. It also looks into his statements and filings related to the deal, with the Commission questioning whether he presented the appropriate paperwork.
Before closing the deal to acquire Twitter, Musk had bought a 9.2% stake in the company in March, last year, and disclosed the stake to the SEC in April. Later that month, the financial regulator queried him about the disclosure of this major stake.
On Thursday, the regulatory body revealed it subpoenaed Musk in May 2023 and he initially agreed to appear to testify at its San Francisco office on Sept. 15. However, two days before the scheduled interview, he raised “several spurious objections,” according to the SEC.
Elon Musk accused the government agency of trying to harass him and complained about the chosen location for their meeting. Investigators proposed new dates and agreed to move the interview to Fort Worth, Texas, near Musk’s current residence, but he refused to show up.
Since the start of the probe, the SEC has requested thousands of documents from Musk and others involved. According to its Oct. 5 filing in San Francisco federal court, he has so far testified twice in July 2022. Alex Spiro, an attorney for the investor, issued a statement, saying:
The SEC has already taken Mr. Musk’s testimony multiple times in this misguided investigation – enough is enough.
Elon Musk’s story with the SEC does not start with Twitter. In 2018, he was probed for his contribution to the self-driving car claims by electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, which he chaired. He has also clashed with the U.S. Justice Department and the Biden administration.
In a comment on X to a post on the latest and previous such cases, Musk stated that “a comprehensive overhaul of these agencies is sorely needed.” He also suggested “a commission to take punitive action against those individuals who have abused their regulatory power for personal and political gain,” adding: “Can’t wait for this to happen.”
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